KIMBERLY, Wis. (WBAY) – A Kimberly mom has written a book about the special relationship between her son and his unique companion.
That relationship is on display every week at the CP Center in Allouez, where 8-year-old Hugo Petit and his best friend Koda spend a lot of time.
The two have been paired for more than two years now, after Hugo’s parents realized they needed some help with their autistic child.
“He elopes a lot, he’s a runner, so he doesn’t stay in a safe area, he doesn’t really have awareness of his surroundings or an aware of safety, so he would like run into a street not knowing that a car is coming, he would run across a street to get to a park, not understanding you’re supposed to stop before you cross the road, there was no awareness of danger,” recalls Angie Petit, Hugo’s mom.
Thanks to fundraising efforts, the family was able to obtain Koda from Autism Service Dogs of America, a non-profit organization in Portland, Oregon.
Koda is with Hugo everywhere he goes.
“He gets on the bus with Hugo, he goes to school with Hugo, he comes home with Hugo, we go to therapy with Hugo, we go everywhere with Hugo,” says Petit.
Along with providing the family comfort knowing Hugo is safe outside the home, Koda helps Hugo better express himself.
“If he wants to tell us something, he’s completely non-verbal, but the dog has allowed him to say like, oh over here, because the tether system, he can’t get to it unless he tells us, so it forces him to communicate which has really given us more of an enriched language,” says Petit.
After searching the internet, Angie couldn’t find any books written for children about autism service dogs, so she started writing with Hugo’s classmates in mind.
She titled her book, “Hugo’s Hero.”
“It’s written from Hugo’s perspective, it’s actually written like, Hi I’m Hugo, this is what my dog does for me, it uses kid terminology so hopefully they can really connect with the book,” says Petit.
And better understand the special connection between this young boy and his dog.
“They like to lay together at night and we read stories and Koda comes and crawls right up next to us so he can hear the story, Hugo lays on Koda, it’s a really sweet bond,” says Petit.
More information on “Hugo’s Hero” can be found at http://www.hugoshero.com